In his presentation, called “#digitalolympics,” Sir Martin said the Olympic Games have survived and prospered for more than a century in large part because of a “willingness to continually adapt, even if that change has not always been easy.”
He added that it is vital for the IOC to continue embracing this spirit of evolution if it wants to stay engaged with future generations in a rapidly changing media landscape: “Without question the IOC and the Olympic Movement must continue to evolve and attract youth, including vital new audiences in fast-growth markets… where your values and mission to make the world a better place through sport can and will change lives.”
Sorrell outlined the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead for the Olympic Channel, which is scheduled to be launched as part of Olympic Agenda 2020 reforms in 2016.
“You need to evolve to new consumption behaviours in both younger demographics and in fast-growth markets, more online and more mobile,” he said. “The challenge will be to deliver a solution that reaches this new audience, linking to platforms they are already engaged with and extending the window of the Games outside the two- or four-year period. You have to get more continuity into the offer. The world is ready for a mobile first social content platform united under a powerful purpose that resonates with people around the world. And the IOC has the potential to create just that.”
“As for the Olympic Agenda 2020 process aimed to let new ideas and fresh thinking into the Movement, you the IOC have taken a very bold step to create your own media platform through the Olympic Channel. My advice to you, if I can be so bold, is to be brave, is to be determined, is to be proud to be delivering the future of the Olympic Movement through this new medium.”
During a lively Q&A session with 12 interventions from IOC Members that had to be cut short due to time limitations, Sorrell also praised the concept of the Youth Olympic Games. He called on the IOC to “use these Games as an incubator, as an accelerator and as a way of understanding what young people want and develop in that way.”
Sir Martin has been the CEO of WPP since its founding in 1985. The Group’s worldwide companies include J. Walter Thompson, Ogilvy & Mather Advertising, Y&R, Grey, Mindshare, MEC, MediaCom, Kantar (including Millward Brown and TNS), Wunderman, Burson-Marsteller, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Landor, Brand Union, FITCH, The Partners, AKQA and WPP Digital.